Volume 33 Number 14
                 Produced: Wed Aug 16  6:12:14 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Children in Shule
         [Carl Singer]
Disabilities and Yeshivot
         [Michael Horowitz]
Hachnasat Orhim, Health, Hygiene, and Related Issues
L.D. Schools
         [Nadine Bonner]
Women and Tzitzit
         [Zev Sero]
Womens obligation to Tzitzit
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 17:02:41 EDT
Subject: Children in Shule

Depending on his or her age and "demeanor" your child should not be
expected to sit quietly in shule for as much as 3 hours.

Try to bring you child to services 15 minutes before davening ends --
and extend that time as your child matures.  If this interferes with
your ability to daven, perhaps one parent can go to an early (or
hashkomeh) minyan and return home to baby sit.  Or encourage your shule
to form children's groups -- worse comes to worse, swap with another of
like-situated parents, each taking 15 minute shifts taking care of

An unruly child wandering around like an orphan in shule need not be
tolerated -- it has nothing to do with whether I can concentrate, it has
to do with the quality of my experience and the responsibilities of the
PARENT (the child is always "blameless" in my eyes)

Besides being quite children can do many positive things -- from the
time they could walk, when my kids walked into shule, they always sought
out people to give a shalom aleichem -- many older congregants thrive on
such activities.  Similarly, they always said thankyou when given candy
(but never ate it in shule -- our rules)

Then again, layl TishaBav about 19 years ago, crunched up on the floor
in the front corner of Lower Merion Synagogue with our then 2 year old,
the lights are dimmed and he gives out a geshrey!!!!!  And I step on
about 30 sets of toes as I rush him out of the door (which seems to be
half a mile away at that moment)-- BTW, unless you intend to suffocate
your child, I suggest removing them from the room is much more effective
than trying to silence them -- noise usually escalates in those

  .... I still don't understand it, but my children always sang in shule*,
other children only made noise :)

*That is the noise they were making was music to my ears.

Kol Tov

Carl Singer


From: Michael Horowitz <michaelh1@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 17:36:00 GMT
Subject: Disabilities and Yeshivot

I remember when I was in Yeshiva Ohr Somayoch.  A student had an
epileptic siezure in the Beit Medrash.  The first response of students
there was to shout Cohenim get out.  After all the shouter didn't know
what was going on, so he had to get the Cohenim out in case the guy
died.  Worrying about the person having the siezure came second.

Students complained that having an epileptic disturbed them.  They
didn't like looking at it.

The yeshiva soon taught the students how they believed people with
disabilities should be treated.  They expelled him.  (They expelled me
too for complaining to the the Rosh yeshiva.)  My gemorra Rabbi explained
they had to expel him because it would look bad to potential donors to
see someone having a siezure.

As far as I know this is not Torah.  I doubt their is one statement by
anyone considered a gadol that would support this activity.  But too
many "Orthodox" Jews don't seem to care what the gedolei Ha Torah say on
issues like Chesed.  We seem to feel it is more important to be machmir
in Kashrut than machpid in derek eretz.


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 06:29:21 EDT
Subject: Hachnasat Orhim, Health, Hygiene, and Related Issues

Both in my "home" community and on my many recent business trips, I've
been privileged to be on the receiving end of abundant hachnasat orhim
(hospitality).  To my regret, I'm not in much of a position to host
people at present, in part because I'm so rarely home and working
impossibly long hours, but I hope IY"H that that situation will soon
change.  However, I've seen a number of things in my travels that raise
potential halachic issues about inviting and being invited.  For

    What are the obligations of a host to his or her guest(s) if he or
she, or a family member, is known or suspected to have a contagious
disease?  The fact that "the baby just has the sniffles" can't be
assumed to be innocuous for a guest, since many people these days have
immune systems that aren't normal.  I'm not only talking about cases of
HIV/AIDS, but also individuals who take medications to suppress their
immune systems following organ transplants, ones on chemotherapy or
radiation, and various other issues.  For these individuals, exposure to
a "normal childhood disease," or for that matter an adult's cold or
bronchitis, could literally be fatal.

    Then, too, there are plenty of people, like me, with autoimmune
diseases--i.e., whose immune systems have gone awry somewhat in the
opposite direction and attack the individuals' own vital organs.  In
some of these cases, mine included, exacerbations can be triggered by
infections, particularly those associated with significant fevers.  Such
flare-ups may or may not be fatal; however, they are often extremely

    As an example, I was invited several years ago to the home of a
family who, unbeknownst to me, had a toddler with a severe intestinal
virus.  The hosts did not tell me of the sick toddler.  Moreover, the
evidence suggested that they had not changed the towel everybody used
for netilat yadayim in far longer than should have been the case,
especially since intestinal viruses are typically transmitted by
inadequately washed hands which come into contact with food or otherwise
with someone's mouth.  The family also did nothing to keep
diaper-wearing toddler with stomach virus from sitting on kitchen
counters AND, at various times, on the dining room table, nor did they
restrain her from playing with the food in serving dishes.

    By the time I realized the potential implications of the situation,
it was too late for me politely to excuse myself; in other words, I was
stuck.  Despite my efforts to help myself only to food that I hadn't
seen the toddler (or anybody else at the meal) touch, I caught her
virus, running a fever of almost 102 Fahrenheit.  As a result, I
experienced an exacerbation of my autoimmune disease that left me
extremely miserable and debilitated for over a year.  I did tell the
host family what happened but got a completely noncommittal response.

    Subsequently, when anyone, but particularly a family with small
children, has invited me, I've asked the hosts whether everybody in the
house is healthy (i.e., not contagiously ill).  I would note that I'm
particularly careful about families with small children (say, under age
10) because:

    (a) whatever their other virtues, they are also "germ factories," 
    (b) they can't always tell us if they don't feel well, so we may not know 
until they are obviously and distressingly symptomatic (e.g., when they 
suddenly throw up), 
    (c) they often don't have the skills to practice basic hygiene like hand 
washing and covering mouths when they cough, and 
    (d) their cognitive/moral development is typically not far enough 
advanced before age 10-12 at the earliest, that they can necessarily 
appreciate the damage they can do to others if they transmit a contagious 

    In general, the response I've gotten from my would-be hosts has been
what I would have expected had I asked if the food was kosher;
sometimes, I have had to work very hard to correct the hosts'
misapprehension that I have HIV/AIDS.  Even when there has not been a
problem in these aspects, though, I've seen some of the most
horrifyingly unhygienic practices imaginable, notably including parents
who change a child's diaper and then RETURN TO THE DINING ROOM TABLE
WITHOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS!  Similarly, if the parents leave the table
to use the bathroom (yes, even in the "frum" world), or to take a
marginally toilet-trained child there, they frequently return without
washing their own hands.  Even for a healthy person, the risks of
transmission of contagious disease here are pretty frightening, IMHO.

Again, I profoundly appreciate the extent to which the people I meet in
my travels and in my home community go lifnim mishurat hadin (beyond the
minimum requirements) in hachnasat orhim, both to me and to others.
However, I'm also painfully aware of the health risks I and others can
incur from the behavior of hosts who don't think about the issues I've
raised.  Frankly, I've become very skittish about accepting invitations
from a number of likely host families in my community for these reasons.
Apart from any information to which anyone can refer me on the
obligations of hosts, I'd also like to know about the obligations of
guests who might be contagiously ill to their hosts.

Finally, I'd appreciate input on how to handle these issues without
causing oneself undue stigma, esp. since I'm "in the parasha," looking
for a shidduch, and am painfully aware of how much my medical issues
diminish my prospects.  In the medical world, the current mentality
about infection control is one of "universal precautions," i.e.,
presuming every patient to be infected with something the provider
doesn't want to catch, and acting as if every provider were infected
with something the patient doesn't want to catch.  Perhaps we could
strive to assume that contagious disease NEEDS to be avoided by every
potential guest, and host, rather than that, for most "respectable,"
"frum" people, a cold, or a stomach virus, or whatever, is no more than
a trivial nuisance?


From: Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 11:42:02 EDT
Subject: L.D. Schools

I am wondering what kind of learning disabled programs Susan Shapiro was
refering to.

In Chicago, I had my daughter in the P"TACH program, which successfully
helped her work through her ADD. P"TACH deals with kids who have certain
learning problems, but look "normal." Many of the kids, like my
daughter, eventually end up in regular classes with some resource room
help. I found it was more difficult to raise funds for this kind of a
program than for the extremely successful Keshet Program, also in
Chicago, which serves children with more severe disabilites.

The Keshet kids, many of whom are in wheelchairs, really tug at the
heartstrings. Although the programs for them are expensive, they are
able to raise funds quite easily for that reason. In Chicago they serve
both the day school and Sunday school populations, and have programs
housed in the modern Orthodox and the cheder type schools.

Milwaukee picked up the name for a similar program, which has also been
very successful, both educationally and in fundraising. They have an
annual event that is attended by the biggest donors in the community and
produce an impressive adbook.

Both of these programs bring children into the day school system that
even 10 years ago would have been shunted aside.

But having a son with a learning problem, not a severe disability, I
have found far less help or understanding in a yeshiva-type program that
seems to herd everyone non-stop to Kollel. There doesn't seem to be any
acknowlement that certain boys are not designed for fulltime learning,
but need to be instilled with a love of learning that will carry them
through life.

Nadine Bonner


From: Chaim <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 16:26:01 EDT
Subject: Tourette's

 A poster writes, 
<< You really cannot, however, compare a person in a wheelchair or who is
blind to a sufferer of tourette's. The continuing prescent of the former
does not constitute an ongoing disturbance - as oppossed to the latter. >>

I do not see this as a continuing disturbance at all.  It may seem
shocking to individuals at first.  However, if people are truly
interested in inclusion and accepting all of Klal Yisroel, they will
soon learn to ignore the outbursts.

Yet another poster comments,

<Aren't children an integral part of Klal Yisroel, yet children who make 
noises in shul and disturb the congregation are not supposed to be brought 
to shul (Mishnah Berurah 124:28).>

Children can control themselves if their parents teach them properly.
We are talking disability here, not ill behaved children.

For what it is worth, I asked a Priest this question, and he felt that
he would need to exclude the individual.  That point aside, it I society
that makes what the touretic person does unacceptable.  Yes, he is loud,
but I have been in so many shuls with louder outbursts from people
talking about sports or stocks.  As to profanity, it is only as big of a
deal as people make it.  It is distasteful because society makes it so,
and is not Mius (disgusting) like feces which are Mius in of themselves.
And let us not forget, that there are poskim who hold dogs are allowed
in a shul if needed as a seeing eye dog



From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 16:11:30 -0400
Subject: Women and Tzitzit

One thing to bear in mind regarding stories one may hear about women in
the past who wore tzitzit: not everything that one hears is true.  From
time to time I hear it told of my great-great-grandmother, Rochel Leah
Shagalovich, AKA Rochel Leah the wine-seller, that she wore tzitzit.
Apparently this was a fairly widespread rumour during her life, for it
to still be told today.  But according to her granddaugher, my
grandmother AH, the story is not true.  What I imagine happened is that
she gained a reputation as an extremely frum woman, the kind of woman
who might conceivably wear tzitzit, and as the story was repeated it
became a firm report that she did actually wear them.

Zev Sero


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 17:57:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Womens obligation to Tzitzit

A quick answer to Shalom Krischner:(V36:3)

Wearing Tzitzith is a positive commandment that only applies during
the day. Hence women are exempt from it.

If we use Rav Hirsch's categorization of which mitzvot women are
free from---"periodically occuring commandments whose purpose is to
symbolically affirm our moral resolve" then we easily see why women
are free from this Mitzvah

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Dept of Math; <RHendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple
http://www.RashiYomi.Com                NEW NEW IMPROVED IMPROVED


End of Volume 33 Issue 14